President Nana Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo has stated that criminality or reckless spending cannot be attributed to the decisions made by his government to save the lives of Ghanaians during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that nothing dishonourable was done with COVID funds.
“We took many decisions, we did many things which, according to the science, were the most reliable and trusted ways to save lives and livelihoods at the time, which may look strange and unnecessary today, but that is from the safe perspective of not waking up to check on the COVID-19 infection or death rate.
“Indeed, there were some who suggested that we canceled the national identification registration exercise, and even postponed the 2020 general election. Who would have thought that, today, anybody would be questioning the fumigation of schools and markets?” the President quizzed in Parliament yesterday when he delivered a message on the State of the Nation.
It was done in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, which requires the President to “deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament.”
President Akufo-Addo vividly recalled the blunt advice he received from a group of the country’s most eminent physicians and other scientists on the critical importance of fumigating all public spaces, including offices, schools, hospitals, markets, churches, and mosques.
“Today, the science may be that such measures make no difference to the spread of the virus,” he asserted, “but criminality or reckless spending cannot be ascribed to the decision to undertake such measures.”
He said in dealing with the crisis generally, he did not meet anyone brave enough to suggest that considerations of money should be a hindrance to anything the government needed to do in the fight against the virus.
“I was and I am grateful that the people of Ghana rose to the occasion and, together, we went through the crisis and came out well by defying the doomsday predictions about the inevitability of dead bodies on our streets,” he posited.
The President stated that the economic consequences of the pandemic had been disastrous, adding, it was critical to demonstrate unequivocally that the COVID funds were not misappropriated because the economic fallout from the pandemic is so widespread and long-lasting.
He continued that it is critical for politicians not to lose the confidence of the people that a crisis that they were led to believe they were all in together was abused for personal gain.
“It was the Government that asked for the COVID funds to be audited, and I can assure this House that nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID funds.
“The responses from the Ministers for Health and Finance, on January 23 and 25, 2023, respectively, have sufficiently laid to rest the queries from the Auditor General’s report, and I believe any objective scrutiny of these statements from the Health and Finance Ministries would justify this conclusion,” he intimated.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House